Red and the 140 Character Minimum
Posted on March 28, 2014
All That a Year Can Change
Hi, I’m Mindy (blog alias: Red). I don’t carry a purple cane, but my best friend does. When Liz described me as an adventurous, freckled, redheaded sloth-hunter and pickle-lover, she was completely accurate—I am all of those things.
Here is my story.
A few months ago Liz included me in a post about gratitude, and even re-reading it now, it’s clear how expertly and lovingly she was able to describe my emotions at the time. She’s right in that I don’t easily become choked up or teary, but at that particular moment, on the corner of Herkimer Street and Kingston Avenue in Brooklyn, I had a very real feeling of being awash in gratitude–gratitude about my life course and the open path I recently carved out for myself.
Liz’s challenge to me as a guest on her blog was not only to write my story, but also to touch on the theme “all that a year can change”. One year. That’s not much time, especially considering most of my twenties were spent working at the same place, living in the same apartment–a true accomplishment in NYC–and dating the same person. Whole years would pass by and I couldn’t recall any significant personal change or growth that had occurred. I hadn’t even changed the paint on the walls of my apartment in that time period. Looking back, it looks slightly depressing, but I’m not a regretful person and I don’t bemoan anything that has happened in my life’s history. After all, it’s gotten me to where I am today. And where that is is a seemingly magical place.
As a 32-year-old person currently living in a 400-square foot studio apartment she doesn’t own, who doesn’t possess a single standard-sized dinner plate or more than 5 ingredients in her refrigerator at any given time, I’d say I’m living the dream–my dream that is. For so many years until last year, I had been meandering down the river of life, floating on an over-sized inner tube while enjoying the sights but never really feeling like I had much control over what those sights were or what my ultimate destination would be. The water wast taking me where it wanted to go, not necessarily where I wanted to go.
Then last summer, I decided to pop the inner tube, hop up on the riverbank and take a look around for myself. I was amazed at what I discovered–or rediscovered, rather. I began seeing my city and my relationship to it in a different way. Shocked out of my reverie of following the endlessly looping pattern of work–>subway–>home–>subway–>work and so on that I had allowed myself to fall into, I realized there was so much life around me that I hadn’t been a part of. I wasn’t participating in this city I had once loved. I wasn’t seeing my friends (Purple Cane-toter included) and I wasn’t doing anything I hadn’t already done dozens of times before. I was stuck.
And once ascending to the top of the riverbank–to keep on with this analogy–I then unstuck myself. I veered off the river’s course and began making my own. What did I want to be doing with my life? What did I want to give to and get from this world? So let’s return now to that corner in Brooklyn where equally I felt so alive and so scared with my gratitude-fueled epiphany. It was pure exhilaration. I’m the mistress of my own destiny. I made this new life happen. And I couldn’t be happier reconnecting with my best friend, my city, both of which were not lost after all. And the added bonus? I’ve found a partner who also loves adventure and newness and togetherness just as much as I do and I couldn’t feel more like I’ve won the lottery. The gratitude has been there every single day since.